UN-Habitat organizes webinar on “Women’s Access to Land and Climate Responsive Land Use”

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Highlighting the theme “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow” UN-Habitat Nepal organized the webinar on “Women’s Access to Land and Climate Responsive Land Use” ensuring the contribution of women and girls for sustainable land rights in Nepal.

Primarily the three papers focusing on Women’s Access to land, Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) and the gender inclusiveness in the existing land policy and legislation in Nepal depicts the present scenario of women in land cum financial rights.

Speaking over the program Janak Raj Joshi, Joint Secretary from Ministry of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation highlighted the major policy intervention in land ownership and land use issues in Nepal. He emphasized the current legal status and provision of land rights in the Constitution of Nepal, Civil Codes, National Land Policy, the National Land Use Policy, the current 15th Periodic Plan, and the amended Land respectively. The provisions of tax rebate on women’s and joint landownership resulted legislative provision that all land allocated by the State is registered jointly in the name of spouses.

Adding on the land rights agenda Kalpana Karki representing Community Self Reliance Centre elaborated the meagre ownership status of women on land though they are mostly engaged in agriculture and household works.  She argued that access to land was a key foundation for women economic empowerment and social stardom. She provided example of how land allocated for use to poor and vulnerable indigenous community and women groups on the so far unutilized river’s banks and degraded forests in Dang, Parasi and Bardiya districts for feeding and forage have improved their economic and social status.

Supporting the government policy of Climate Smart Agriculture, Shanker Subedi representing Good Neighbor International lauded on practices and principles of community-based climate smart agriculture targeting to women. He recalled the figure that 50% of GHGs emission comes from agro burning, livestock farming and rapid deforestation thereby hampering the environmental factors. He suggested the line agencies and members for mitigation and adaptation measures.

Sarika Rai (Prakriti Resources Centre) summarized the adaptation and mitigation strategies for combatting climate change impacts through promotion of indigenous knowledge, reforestation, and use of renewable energy. The participants talked on barrier of land governance, challenges in linking the root level despite of open-minded people, progressive policy and legislative provisions. Still there are some barriers. It was raised that some legislative provisions related to women’s rights on paternal property were still unclear.

Mamta Bishta from Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens presented that the Ministry is coordinating with local government in proper execution of plan and policies.  Though Land and women are cross-cutting issues, the perception and execution of line ministries aren’t in unilinear mode that creates the dilemma in implementation.

Shabnam Shiwakoti, Joint Secretary from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development explained issues associated to women and agriculture where the women empowerment is possible through income generation, sustainable agriculture, friendly technology, adaptation measures, legal literacy and capacity building.

 Dr Radha Wagle, Joint Secretary from Ministry of Forest and Environment emphasized on challenges of social justice and gender equity due to climate change and land use. She praised the CSA examples regarding the utilization of unused public land by the deprived women for rearing the family and upgrading the life.

Ram Prasad Thapaliya, Secretary of Ministry of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation conveyed that the Ministry will be attentive to the issues raised and cautious to address them in three tier governments. “Without the active and equal engagement of women in land ownership, the fundamental change in the society isn’t possible.” he added.

Pragya Pradhan, Habitat Programme Manager underlined the changing social paradigm along with the ownership of women on land along with the major intervention of project in social change. She elaborated that the rigorous discussions at community to policy level on land rights could make an exemplary effort in land ownership.

Women’s access to land is still in miserable status so the communal approach and effort is required for better tomorrow. The concerned line ministries and related entities must rethink of developing crystal-clear policy on land use under contract/ leasehold and enabling environment to local governments for optimum utilization of unused lands.

UN-Habitat and its implementing partner Community Self Reliance Centre (CSRC) with the support and in collaboration with Ministry of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation (MoLMCPA), Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) and stakeholders stand together for ensuring land rights to women.

The programme draws a wide range of participants from different government and urban/ rural municipalities, academic and land researchers, NGOs/ INGOs, civil society representatives, and UN agencies engaging some 45% of female participation.